Elaine Carruthers tells us how coming to the club gives people a sense of purpose and why having a sense of fun is so valuable.
I've been at the Orchard Centre since it opened in 2006 and have watched it really grow into something special. I started my career in caring for people in the early 1990s and, before managing the Orchard Centre, I was a team leader at Appleby House care home which is just next door to us. I'm a caring person with a great sense of fun – I'm perfectly happy to make myself look silly if it helps members to relax and feel able to get up to sing, dance and get into the swing of things!
I'm also passionate about my job – I love working with the people who come to the Orchard Centre. I was very proud to win a national care award in 2011, when I was named Best Dementia Care Manager in a Community Setting at the National Dementia Congress. It was a great reflection of the work our entire team puts into the day club.
We provide a place where people can come to socialise and have a great time. We make sure everyone feels valued by respecting their experiences and choices, and providing fun, meaningful activities. Taking the time to find out how each person wants to spend their days means we can always deliver fulfilling experiences.
The day club has a very laid-back atmosphere which helps everyone feel comfortable and settled. We know when someone feels completely at home here, because they'll come in and hang up their coat – it's a sure sign that they see Orchard Centre as ‘their’ club.